Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed A Neighborhood (F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed A Neighborhood, written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell,and illustrated by Rafael López.

A little girl named Mira sits in her bedroom in the city, and draws (it’s her favorite thing to do). Mira likes to look at a blank sheet of paper and think, “What if?”; in creating her colorful masterpieces, she’s filled her room with a rainbow of hues. However, the city outside remains a bit dull – perhaps Mira could change that too. She gathers some of her drawings and spreads them around the neighborhood, giving a red apple to the shop owner, a flower to Ms. Lopez, and taping a bright yellow sun to the wall. It’s the last one that captures the attention of a passerby painter, who closely examines Mira’s picture, prompting the girl to ask what the man sees. “Maybe… something beautiful,” he replies, explaining that he is a muralist and inviting Mira to help him with his work. As the two fill the gray neighborhood with color, more neighbors join them, adding their own color, music, and joy to the artworks. At last, the neighborhood has been transformed into a place of inspiration and happiness; something beautiful, indeed.

Wonderful. Based loosely on the real life San Diego Art Trail, the story is told with the focus more in the art – and the magic of making it – than dates or names. Indeed, the muralist of the story is unnamed, though he is clearly identified as being López in the backmatter. Rather than the López being the focus, this is instead placed upon the communal nature of the murals, and how art can bring people together, inducing happiness through both its admiration and creation. Mira provides an excellent character to provide point-of-view; even her name is a clever nod to the act of appreciating art. My only complaint is a scene on when the muralist, at that point a stranger, invites Mira to come with him to create art and she does; it may be important to point out to young readers that they should never go off with strangers. Still, the glorious illustrations will inspire, the length is good, and JJ loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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